- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Yankees Central: Questions About Fifth Starter, OF Alignment Remain | Bronx News Networkbronx

Friday, March 12, 2010

Yankees Central: Questions About Fifth Starter, OF Alignment Remain

Note: We're going to beef up our coverage of the Yankees baseball club this season. Every week, starting today, we'll be giving you some commentary and analysis on the biggest Yankee stories and issues. We'll also provide you with some links to other Yankee-related stories, analysis and opinions from traditional news outlets as well as the all the chatter in the Bomber blogosphere.We're calling this feature, "Yankees Central," at least until we can think of something cooler. On weekends, BxNN contributor Graham Kates will be back riffing and ranting with his "Yankees, Unobstructed" column throughout the season. Join in the conversation.

After a week of spring training games, the Yankees find themselves at 3-5 with (just) 25 days left until opening day. While the core of the team is set, there are still a few question marks that remain.

The biggest one being: Who will be the Yankees fifth starter.

With the acquisition of Javier Vazquez, formerly of the Atlanta Braves, this off-season, the Yanks now have four legitimate Major League starters, all of whom could be considered aces on other teams. Having a reliable fifth pitcher would solidify their staff as the best in the league.

Although there are several candidates for the spot, it seems as if it’s going to come down to Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. Both young pitchers came up through the farm system as starters and both have had success in the bullpen. It seems as if the loser of the competition will be the set-up man for legendary closer Mariano Rivera.

Chamberlain burst onto the scene in 2007 and jumped right into the 8th inning role and captured the hearts of New Yorkers with his 100 plus MPH fastball and his fist pumping adrenaline driven character.

Hughes, by far the more docile of the two, came up early in 2007 and pitched well as a starter before a hamstring injury sidelined him for the rest of the year. In 2008, he struggled and was eventually sent back to the minors. Last year he began the season in AAA – Scranton/Wilkes Barre, but due to injuries in the Yankees bullpen he was thrust into the set-up role where he thrived down the stretch and helped the Yankees capture their 27th championship.

Arguments can be made for both, but it would seem that with Chamberlain’s fastball and his demeanor that he is perfect for the bullpen and the heir apparent to Mariano. Both pitchers will continue to battle for that fifth spot and we probably won’t get an answer for at least another two weeks.

Another big question is, how will the Yankees align their outfield? The Yankees neglected to re-sign veterans Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon, leaving two big holes in the outfield, which they eventually filled with the acquisitions of Curtis Granderson and Randy Winn.

Right now, the only outfield position that seems to be set is right field, where Nick Swisher, who is coming off a big year offensively, will be the everyday player. Curtis Granderson has played center his entire career but Joe Girardi may opt to place the speedy Brett Gardener there, leaving a platoon of Granderson and Winn in left field.

There are still more than three weeks left until the Yankees play their first official game of the year against the Red Sox in Fenway Park. By then, they hope these questions are answered as they begin their trek towards a 28th World Series.

More on the Yankees:

A-Rod is trying to schedule an interview with federal authorities who are investigating the activities of a doctor who treated the slugger. The doctor is accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.  

The Yankees are closely monitoring back-up catcher Francisco Cervelli after he was hit in the head with a pitch over the weekend.

College Football will return to the south Bronx as Yankee Stadium will host the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 30.

Professional boxing is returning to the Bronx as Miguel Cotto is scheduled to square off against Yuri Foreman in a welterweight bought in June at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees send Edwar Ramirez to Texas in exchange for cash.

Jeter, Rivera and Girardi will have to wait until the end of the 2010 season to negotiate new contracts.


Post a Comment

Bronx News Network reserves the right to remove comments that include personal attacks, name calling, foul language, commercial advertisements, spam, or any language that might be considered threatening, libelous or inciting hate.

User comments are reviewed by BxNN staff and may be included or excluded at our discretion.

If what you have to say is unrelated to this particular post, please visit our readers' forum.